New research suggests that there may be a link between higher levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment and higher levels of hyperthyroidism in pet cats as they age. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
PFAS are a family of more than 3,000 structures of highly fluorinated chemicals used in industrial processes and consumer products, such as protective coatings for carpets, furniture and apparel, paper coatings, insecticide formulations, and other items.
The study involved analyses of blood samples from older cats in Northern California. Investigators examined the animals' exposures to PFAS and compared PFAS levels between cats with and without hyperthyroidism, a very common endocrine disorder in senior cats.
"Our lab has been investigating PFAS for years. Cats can be good sentinels to examine body burdens of emerging pollutants, including PFAS," said lead author Dr. Miaomiao Wang, of the California Environmental Protection Agency. "The current study is only preliminary, however, and larger scale studies might be helpful to confirm our findings."